Ask a LA CLINICA Skin Concierge: The Best Retinol Routine for Acne & Blemish Prone Skin

Blemishes, pimples, spots, breakouts, acne - we don’t like you. We accept that you exist but we don’t have to like you. In fact some people are asking for routines dedicated towards getting rid of you.

What is the best routine for acne and blemish prone skin?

While those who find themselves with breakouts and blemishes might want to throw every spot-targeting product under the sun onto their skin, you may find yourself in a worse situation than before. With angry, red, irritated skin and no fewer breakouts than you started with.

Rather than stripping the skin with harsh products, the key to managing breakouts is two-fold:

  1. Include ingredients that are effective against acne and breakouts
  2. Support and fortify the skin barrier, reducing inflammation and allowing you to stick to the routine, improving its effectiveness.

Which is exactly why we created the Not Today Skin Clarifying Kit, all the essentials you need for a breakout-battling routine that won't leave your skin tight and irritated.

Clear Skin Acne Kit

How to use retinol to prevent blemishes

Salicylic Acid, Retinol and Niacinamide are the featured hero actives in this skincare kit. Preventing bacteria, unclogging pores, turning over skin cells and regulating oil production. Anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients help strengthen the skin barrier to further help the effectiveness and ensure skin is strong and resilient, lessening the chance of future spots.

The key to successful use of retinol for blemishes and achieving generally healthy, resilient skin is a regular routine of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturising, and consistent use of sunscreen. The Not Today Skin Clarifying Kit contains all the essentials needed for a breakout-battling routine, simply add your favourite SPF and you’re good to go!

The best retinol routine for blemish prone skin with the Skin Clarifying Kit:

Step 1: Cleanse 

Clear Skin Anti Blemish Cleanser

Removing the grime of the day is important for keeping buildup that causes acne at bay. The Anti Blemish Face Wash contains Salicylic Acid to go deep into the pores to clear them from excess oil and dirt

It effectively removes make-up and debris without stripping your skin and contains soothing ingredients to avoid any irritation. Use it as a body wash for all over acne treatment if you’re also struggling with bacne or chestne. 

Shop the Anti Blemish Face Wash

Step 2 : Treat

Retinol / Vitamin A for blemishes:

Retinol is one of the most researched skincare ingredients, and the research says - it works wonders for reducing breakouts! Retinol helps limit key factors of what causes blemishes. It does this by increasing skin cell turnover, regulating oil production and reducing the chance of blocked pores. Bonus that it also improves skin texture, tone and is a fantastic anti-ageing ingredient. If you’re wary of using retinol, start slowly. Once a week until you see no side-effects, then increase to twice a week and repeat until you can use it as often as desired. Read up on all you need to know about retinol before starting to get yourself clued up on this wondrous ingredient.

Retinol OIl

Shop the Essentials Pure Retinol 0.5% in Luxurious Plant Oils

Salicylic Acid for blemishes:

On the nights not using the Retinol 0.5% Oil, apply the Multi Fruit Acid Serum with 2% Salicylic Acid to help unclog pores. Gentle enough for every night use, it is an effective anti-blemish product to help smooth out texture, regulate oil production, and decrease congestion. Read more about why the Multi Fruit Acid Serum is your solution to breakouts.


Clear Skin Multi Fruit Acid Serum

Shop the Clear Skin Multi Fruit Acid Serum

Spot treatment for blemishes:

During the day, spot treat with the Intensive Spot Serum to help calm spots and regulate oil production. A fast absorbing, gel-like lotion to target spots and break-outs. Containing Niacinamide, Ethyl Linoleate, Vitamin E, Allantoin, Panthenol, Willow Bark and Grape Seed Extract to support the skin barrier and calm the skin. 


Clear Skin Spot Serum

Shop the Clear Skin Intensive Spot Serum

Step 3: Hydrate

Hydrated skin is healthy skin and healthy skin is better able to heal and fight breakouts, so definitely don’t skip this vital step. Even oily skin needs hydration. A common misconception with oily skin is that moisturiser isn't necessary and will make the skin even greasier. Not so, by not applying moisturiser, you're causing the skin to overcompensate and produce more oil.

The Deep Hydration Moisture Cream helps support the skin’s healing ability, ensuring skin is hydrated and protected. If you’d prefer a lighter style moisturiser, try the Hydrating Gel Cream for a gel-like cream and less plant oils but still packs a punch with multiple Hyaluronic Acids and Linoleic Acid.


Deep Hydration Moisture Cream

Shop the Essentials Deep Hydration Moisture Cream


Hydrating Gel Cream

Shop the Essentials Hydrating Gel Cream

The best hydrating serum for blemish-prone skin

Want to add a serum to your routine? Applying a hydrating serum before your retinol may help “buffer” the retinol for even less chance of irritation. The Hydrating and Healing Serum has multiple types of hyaluronic acid for superior hydration as well as Ceramides, Niacinamide, Panthenol and Oat Beta Glucan. Helping calm and soothe skin as well as assisting skin’s healing ability for less chance of post-pimple scarring. Products with Niacinamide / Vitamin B also help regulate sebum.


Hydrating and Healing Serum

Shop Essentials Hydrating and Healing Serum


Hydrating Vitamin B Serum

Shop Essentials Hydrating Vitamin B Serum


Age Reversal Niacinamide + Vitamin Complex Serum

Shop Age Reversal Niacinamide + Vitamin Complex Serum

The best skincare routine for acne

The important thing to remember in order to see results from Retinol and Salicylic Acid is consistency. Commit to the routine everyday, not just when you see breakouts erupting. And remember, Retinol takes longer to work than most ingredients so expect to see smoother, more clarified skin in around 2 months. Don’t give up if you’re having trouble, see our post on why people don’t see results with retinol here - ‘How to get Retinol to work for your skin’.

Related post: A kit to battle blemishes

Blog menu

Sign up to our newsletter to receive weekly exclusive offers and our latest news from LA CLINICA